“Are You Cool Enough?”: Peer Pressure Fuels School Bathroom Vape Culture and Harms Teen Health

Overview
Peer Pressure Fuels School Bathroom Vape Culture and Harms Teen Health
A recent article on Yahoo highlighted the escalating problem of school bathroom vape culture among teens. The signs are easy to spot when stepping into a high school restroom — your nose can suss out the sweet scent of cherry, grape, and other candy-fruity scents which signal vaping activities.
 
Peer pressure subtly influences students to participate. If you’re offered a puff, you are encouraged to partake, creating an environment where refusal feels unwelcome and isolating.
 

The 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey summary from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that about 2.13 million students reported current use of e-cigarettes. About 10.0% (1.56 million) of those are high school students and 4.6% (550,000) are middle school students who reportedly use e-cigarettes.

A Cloud of Trouble

E-cigarettes, vapes, and vape pens go by many names, but they mostly have the same function. They are battery-operated devices designed to heat a nicotine-containing liquid to produce an aerosol, which users and those around them inhale. The main issue with these devices is that while some may contain nicotine, others — especially, unregulated ones — don’t disclose that they do.

Nicotine can damage the developmental part of a child’s brain, which goes on until they’re 25. It can harm the part of the brain that controls attention, learning, moods, and impulse control. Nicotine can also wreak havoc on synapses which are vital for learning new skills or creating memories.

 

Counterintuitive Self-Medication Using Vapes

Nicotine is highly addictive and causes withdrawal symptoms like irritability, restlessness, trouble sleeping and anxiety when users want to quit. Because vapes can look like anything from highlighters to pens, teens can discreetly use them and become addicted quickly.

The CDC notes that the use of nicotine is linked to depression and anxiety. But teens state that they turn to vaping to deal with those issues as a form of self-medication. The psychoactive ingredient in vaping THC has also caused severe lung injuries linked to the Vitamin E acetate found in those devices.

 

Addressing the Problem with Technology

Many teachers say that vaping has caused severe problems in the classroom, from lack of attention to disruptions that impact their ability to educate their students. Schools have taken measures like locking washrooms or removing stall doors from bathroom cubicles, which has led to another set of health problems like strained bladders.

A lot of schools worldwide are now fighting back using technology like vape detectors. These gadgets look like smoke detectors but don’t sound an alarm; they alert school administrators in real-time instead. Because they have built-in tampering detection as well, these devices have been found to work well as long as installed properly.

However, stopping this epidemic in teens should be a team effort. Educating our students and demonstrating the dangers of vaping while combined with vape-detecting technology can be the start of a healthier and cleaner future for our youth.

The Vape Detector specializes in cutting-edge technology solutions to combat vaping in educational environments. Our innovative vape detection systems, such as the FlySense® series, are designed to safeguard school facilities by providing real-time alerts and comprehensive monitoring capabilities.

We aim to create vape-free environments that prioritize student health and safety. Learn more about how you can implement the world’s leading vape detection technology today.